THE IMPORTANCE OF ARM SWING TO RUNNING is discussed in a 2017 article by Jonathon Beverly for runnersworld.com/uk, “Why Your Arm Swing Is So Important to Running and How to Improve It”. PodiumRunner.com posted an item by Jon-Erik-Kawamoto that addresses the same issue and features exercises that will help to generally assist runners (and walkers) with bettering their upper body running/walking posture, “6 Exercises to Improve Your Upper Body Running Posture.”
According to experts referenced in the articles, arm swing and running posture are linked and influence leg movement. Modern living activities cause us to predominantly “hunch over” while we work, drive, eat, and communicate. Constant and habitual “forward” body and shoulder positioning make it difficult and uncomfortable to maintain a “tall spine” and pull arms back during running. Thus, because arm pumping action helps to power the legs, whatever improvements we expect to obtain from efforts to strengthen and stretch the lower body may not be realized.
“To sum up, tight, rotated shoulders can sabotage all the gains you might get from posture, hip flexibility and strength work, throwing off your balance and drive”, Beverly says in the runnersworld.com article.
Elite runners know the importance of backward arm swing to running drive. Back in 2014 Tim Broe, an Olympic runner who now heads Saucony’s Freedom Track Club, informed me he coached the girls in his high school cross country team (I think it was Saline MI) to bring elbows back far enough such that thumbs brush the tops of their running shorts with each stride’s arm swing. Retired Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi is reported in the runnersworld.com article as saying that while running “he looks at his shadow for a triangle of light between his torso and upper and lower arms” to assess whether his arm swing is effective.
Check out images in running articles. Nearly always, moving runners are pictured with elbows pulled back, purposely creating Meb’s ‘triangle of light’.
Not mentioned in either piece is the observation made by others that an upright posture has another esthetic benefit; it provides a youthful body profile. Non-runners and walkers hoping to preserve a younger appearance should consider reviewing these articles and picking a few moves to try. The only equipment needed is resistance tubing. It’s possible that by working on posture you’ll not only improve your look but feel years come off too.
Both posted articles share the same topic, but each provides different information, advice, and exercise/stretch demonstrations. I’ve long searched to find a discussion explaining this aspect of running as well as it was covered by Tim Broe in one training session at the facility where he worked 6 years ago. Serendipity resulted in my finding two, which will be posted on the RESOURCES page.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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